The Girls Who Bake

Hi guys!

As you know, I’m very much into food and all things baked, dipped, glazed and iced. And so is my sister. So, we decided we would have a bake-and-drink day last Saturday. First we headed out into Observatory to do some vintage shopping. It was pretty much fruitless, so we decided to have a beer instead. That’s how we roll. (I did find a very cool old silver measuring cup with a copper bottom, for R10.00! I still have to clean it and get the copper all shiny though.) After our very large beer, we headed back to my house to commence with the baking and drinking. Incidentally, my future sister-in-law and her hubby just decided to drop by, so we made a space for her at the counter, plopped her down on a stool with a glass of wine and a ringside seat to our possible culinary failure, while the boys settled in to playing their shooty-sweary Playstation game. For our first, of a monthly installment, baking day, we (mostly I) decided to make Cinnamon Rolls and Red Velvet Cupcakes. Both with some form of cream cheese topping. Could you just taste it already?

So we got started with the Cinnamon Rolls first, since we figured that would take the longest. We combined about 5 recipes, but worked mostly from one, that can be found here: http://valleyridgerecipes.blogspot.com/2010/04/cinnamon-rolls_17.html

So, the ingredients first:

3 1/2 c. warm water
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
6 T. yeast (we used one sachet of instant dry yeast)

1. Mix those and let it sit for about 15-20 mins.

2. Then add:
1 T. salt
3 eggs
10 1/2 c. flour

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3. Mix together until combined well (about 10 minutes, but ours took longer because after about 10 minutes of mixing, we realised we forgot to add the eggs and that’s why it was all SO STICKY!) then sit until it doubles in size. We put it close to our heater for about 20 minutes.

4. Oil cupboard, dump out dough. We accidentally missed this part, and floured the surface. It was okay, but the oil would have made the rolling MUCH easier.

5. Divide in half. Roll one half out into rectangle.

6. Spread with ¼ c. melted butter and then with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up tight, but not too tight. Divide into 12 rolls and place on greased cookie sheet. Repeat with other half of dough. Let rise. (We missed that part too, so the baking time took somewhat longer)

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 200°C. (We had to bake for about 20-25 minutes) To be fair, my oven is also a bit wonky, so I think the oven’s temperature wasn’t spot on.

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Cinnamon-Sugar
1c. sugar
2 T. cinnamon

Cream Cheese Glaze (We used a different recipe for the glaze)

INGREDIENTS

340g cream cheese

12 tbsp butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla

METHOD

1. Mix cream cheese & butter until combined & slightly fluffy – ± 1 min

2. Add remaining ingredients & mix until well combined.

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We used 1/2 of the glaze to pour over the rolls as they just came out of the oven, so it would seep and melt into the rolls. We then glazed the rolls with the other half when they were cool.

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You guys. Let’s get real for a minute here… The were so effing good I almost cried after my first bite. For real. That’s why I bake. To get the ultimate pay-off of a well made treat after working so hard to make it.

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How good do they look??

Moving on to our Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Just as a little bit of info, my sister baked these for me for my birthday, and they were epic. And so I’ve been obsessing about Red Velvet since. I really wanted to try to make them to see if they were just a fluke the first time. They weren’t.

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Here’s the recipe:

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

by TAREK MALOUF

INGREDIENTS:

SPONGE:

120g unsalted butter, softened

300g caster sugar

2 large eggs

20g cocoa powder

40ml red food colouring

1tsp vanilla essence

300g plain flour

1tsp salt

240ml buttermilk

1tbsp white vinegar

1tsp bicarbonate soda

FROSTING

100g unsalted butter, softened

600g icing sugar

250g full-fat cream cheese.

METHOD:

SPONGE:

1. Pre heat oven to 190°C & line muffin tins

2. Using electric mixer / free standing electric mixer with paddle attachment cream butter and sugar together until pale & fluffy

3. Break eggs in one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition & mixing the scrapings from the sides of the bowl

4. Separate bowl: stir together cocoa, food colouring and vanilla essence to form a paste

5. Add paste to batter, mix thoroughly until paste is completed incorporated

6. Another bowl: sift flour, salt

7. Add flour mix in batches to batter – alternating with buttermilk – mix thoroughly after each addition

8. Another bowl: mix vinegar and bicarb

9. Add to cake batters & mix until completely incorporated

10. Spoon into paper cases – two thirds full

11. Bake for 18 to 20 mins – until sponge bounces back when lightly pressed

12. Allow to cool then place onto wire rack

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FROSTING:

1. Using electric mixer / free standing electric mixer with paddle attachment, on a low speed beat butter and icing until no large lumps of butter and mixture is sandy texture

2. Add cream cheese and mix slowly until fully incorporated, increase speed to medium and beat until frosting is soft and fluffy

We tried to ice them with a piping bag – but I have ZERO experience with those, and they were looking quite mangled. So I just opted to use my tried and trusted method – spreading with a narrow flat spatula. Much better. And easier. And looks rustic in a I-did-it-on-purpose-to-look-like-that kind of way.

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When the were finally finished, they boys could barely wait to try them, and to be honest,  neither could we… So we dove in. And I swear – I heard Bohemian Rhapsody start to play in my head…”Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” They were THAT good. So light, and fluffy, so moist. And that frosting. Is to die for. My darling sister eats it with a spoon. Just like that.

After revelling in our domestic success, we decided to go out for some (more) drinks. We divided all the spoils between us, and I made sure to document who had my containers. Everybody knows if you don’t know who you lent it to, it is forever lost to the universe! (Ahem, Mom… Take note. You’re not getting any of yours back. Surely they become my property if I’ve had them since University?)

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What a great day. How I love my sister (and my Almost-sister)! Feel free to ask any questions if anything is unclear. And remember: Bake fearlessly, kids. It’s only fun if you do it that way.

Much Love

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A bespoke trip to Amsterdam, Berlin & Paris worth R55,000

Hi friends!

I just wanted to share another GREAT competition with you. (I reason the more competitions I enter, and put out there, the more likely I will be to EVENTUALLY win something.) Right? Right?!

Anyway, this is an amazing prize. And you guys know how I love to travel. Side note – I think my next tattoo should be something about travelling… Any ideas?

Check out the link, and if you feel like it’s a prize worth winning – enter away! Good luck, contenders! May the odds be ever in your favor. (Ahem, Hunger Games reference. Yes, I am aware that I am dorktastic. I also happen to think it’s adorkable.)

http://designereurope.co.za/cnXJPWX0

Much Love

An Open Letter to David Cameron and the IOC

Hi, friends

My heart is heavy this morning.

I’d like to direct you to this open letter to David Cameron and the IOC, which is Stephen Fry‘s very eloquent reaction on Russia’s anti-gay laws.

I feel ashamed of humanity that we as a people allow this kind of intolerance, cruelty, bigotry – plain inhumanity. I feel ashamed that the global community seems…I don’t even know…afraid… of Putin. If we allow people to commit this type of crime against humanity, what does it say about us, as people? What will historians say about us? Will they taste the bitterness of disgust, as we do when we think of the cruelty suffered by the Jews at the hands of Hitler and his Nazi‘s?

We should be ashamed that we let this happen. Not only in Russia. It happens everywhere. It is astounding. It is disgusting. What is the matter with us? Shame on us. Shame on me. Shame on you.

We need to do more.

http://www.stephenfry.com/2013/08/07/an-open-letter-to-david-cameron-and-the-ioc/